walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh, Right.

One more thing 'Fall' means:


Yes, it's time again for 'filth prophylactics,' mudguards, fred blades, whatever you want to call them. The humid but rainless summer is over at last, and the Season of the Rooster Tail is upon us (Alleluia!).

Fortunately, I already have fenders for Swift. Quicksilver could probably wear a set of SKS Raceblades but, even with a potential shop discount (I'm not sure we carry them, so it's hard to say), the cost of the Raceblades would still be prohibitive right now, because I am borked (which is also why I'm probably not racing any more this year, unless a miracle occurs).

So it looks like Swift will be doing the honors, which is fine, because Swift will also be doing the (God help us) Winter Bike honors this year, unless I can convince my Mom that an aluminum 'cross frame would be the perfect early Christmas present. The only problem is that after several months pretty much riding Quicksilver all the time, riding Swift feels ... um ... weird.

Like, 'epic stem' weird, actually. I have grown rather unused to sitting up straight while riding a bike. It doesn't mean Swift handles badly or anything — just that I feel really strange.

So much so, in fact, that I'm partway inclined to cannibalize some poor old road bike from the garage and steal its stem, bars, and other such bits.

Of course, then I'll have to get one of those fancy dooflitchets that let you use road levers with v-brakes (sidebar: does anyone know why they're called v-brakes? ...because mine are distinctly square, not v-shaped at all, when seen from the front never mind; I have apparently lost my mind; I was thinking of the brakes on my black Schwinn, not Swift's brakes, which do definitely resemble Vs). Dooflitchets cost money, however, and money is the one thing I don't have right now, so I may just have to suck it up and get used to riding 'upright' again.

Basically, I had no idea how enormous Swift's stem was. The thing is like half a foot tall (Quicksilver's has that whole 'negative rise' thing going on). Not that this is a big problem, but some part of me feels really weird all dolled up in my 'I'm a Real Cyclist' togs while rolling around on a bike with a stem that makes me sit up like a Puritan on Sunday morning (or afternoon ... or evening).

Speaking of which, a couple of weeks ago, I was chatting outside a CVS with a fellow who rides a nice Schwinn Traveler, and he referred to me as a 'real cyclist' (apparently, putting in a lot of miles on an old Allez is a good way to convince others that you're one of those).

That both made me smile and struck me as funny — it wasn't so long ago that I thought of 'those people' with the lycra and the road bikes and the hair (okay, some of them are bald) as 'Real Cyclists (TM),' and myself as just some kind of half-ASPed dweeb on a bike.

Not to say I think I'm all that with extra 'All That' sauce now — but I no longer think of the roadies and 'cross racers and people-who-actually-ride-mountain-bikes-off-road of the world as 'Them' (as in the 'Us and Them' dichotomy).

These days, I think of cyclists in general as 'Us,' excepting perhaps those who insist on operating bicycles in the roadways at 2.3 MPH against the flow of traffic. Those chucklebunnies, I think of as 'bike salmon,' as BikesnobNYC has so aptly defined them.

This transition seems to have happened slowly and gently enough that I never even really noticed it was happening. At some point, without realizing it, I started thinking of myself as a 'Real Cyclist.' Not that I think I know everything — heck, there are days I'm pretty sure I know absolutely nothing — and not that I think I'm hot stuff (okay, sometimes I do), because I can think of at least a hundred people in the city of Louisville alone who could drop me like a bad habit under just about any conditions, and most of them are like twice my age or more.

Sure, I do have my cocky moments (more than I care to admit) and occasionally even stupid moments (I AM SPRINTING THIS YELLOW LIGHT IF IT KILLS ME — HOLY CARP IT TURNED RED AND I DON'T HAVE TIME TO STOP! — I GUESS I'M SPRINTING THIS RED LIGHT IF IT KILLS ME...), though I try to keep those to a bare minimum.

Speaking of cocky, stupid moments, since I don't have to bring *anything* to class tonight except for myself, I think I'm going to be both cocky and stupid and ride the whole distance from here to school. It has been a couple of weeks since I rode more than eleven miles in one stretch, so it's about time. Now that I'm finally on top of the housework again (I let it slide while I was looking after DD following his surgery), I think I'm going to try to start getting out and doing long rides on class days, since I do nothing but housework and school on those days. As such, I plan to take Quicksilver (the roads should be dry, or at least, dry enough) and head out around two-thirty or three o'clock, ride north-west to the MUP, then ride the MUP to the bridge, where I'll invade Indiana.

Oh, right. Assuming my clothes are dry by three.

See what I mean? Stupid and cocky, heh.

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